Hestercombe is featured in a new book, Secret Gardens of Somerset
Hestercombe is featured in a new book, Secret Gardens of Somerset

Secret Gardens of Somerset offers a personal tour of 20 of the UK’s most beguiling gardens in this much-loved area of southern England, defined by its distinctive horticulture, rolling hills, picturesque villages and the most traditional English landscape.

Writer Abigail Willis and photographer Clive Boursnell give readers privileged access to 20 gardens, from a highly productive working flower farm to very personal private retreats, revealing their history, design and plant collections, in the company of their devoted owners and head gardeners.

In the footsteps of artists and trend-setters from Victorian designers such as Harold Peto to planting visionary Gertrude Jekyll (designer of Hestercombe’s formal gardens with Sir Edwin Lutyens) as well as contemporary pioneer Piet Oudolf, the book explores a series of beguiling country gardens of different sizes and atmospheres, all of which have shaped the English identity, and in different ways express the ideals of English life.

Alongside Hestercombe, the featured gardens include our partner gardens The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, and Kilver Court; plus The American Museum and Gardens, Barley Wood Walled Garden, Batcombe House, Common Farm, Cothay Manor, East Lambrook Manor, Elworthy Cottage, Forest Lodge, Greencombe Gardens, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Iford Manor, Midney Gardens, Milton Lodge gardens, The Newt in Somerset, Stoberry House, Westbrook House, and Yeo Valley Organic Garden.

Most of the gardens included here are privately owned and usually open to the public. Meanwhile, all of these landscapes can now be enjoyed through the eyes of the owners themselves.

You can buy a copy of the book via Amazon.

The author

Abigail Willis pursued a career in the art world before turning to writing and gardening. She is author of the popular guidebook Museums & Galleries of London, now in its sixth edition, and has combined her love of the capital and gardens in The London Garden Book A–Z. Her most recent book, The Remarkable Case of Dr Ward and other Amazing Gardening Innovations, explores how our gardens, and the way we garden in them, have been changed by fifty ideas and innovations. Abigail lives and gardens in Somerset with her husband.

Clive Boursnell is a renowned photographer of architecture, gardens, landscapes and, above all, people. He turned to photography as the culmination of a career which included classical ballet and working as a woodsman, a farmhand, a miner and prospector and a mountaineer. He lives in London.

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